High-resolution tensor MR elastography for breast tumour detection

Phys Med Biol. 2000 Jun;45(6):1649-64. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/45/6/317.


MR elastography is a novel imaging technique for the visualization of elastic properties of tissue. It is expected that this method will have diagnostic value for the clarification of suspicious breast lesions. Low-frequency mechanical waves are coupled into the tissue and visualized via an MR sequence which is phase-locked to the mechanical excitation. Commonly, elasticity is assumed to be isotropic and reconstruction is performed in only two dimensions. The technique is extended to three dimensions such that the entire symmetric elasticity tensor is assessed. This is achieved by measuring different phases of the mechanical wave during one oscillatory cycle. Thereby it is possible to provide information about the anisotropy of the elasticity tensor. Finite-element simulations as well as phantom experiments are performed to demonstrate the feasibility of the method. Initial clinical results of a breast carcinoma are presented. The analysis of the eigenvalues of the elasticity tensor support the hypothesis that breast carcinoma might exhibit an anisotropic elasticity distribution. The surrounding benign tissue appears isotropic. Thereby new and additional diagnostic information is provided which might help in distinguishing between benign and malignant breast diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Elasticity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Models, Statistical
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Polyvinyl Alcohol
  • Ultrasonography / instrumentation
  • Ultrasonography / methods*
  • Ultrasonography, Mammary / instrumentation
  • Ultrasonography, Mammary / methods


  • Polyvinyl Alcohol